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VB-10 and VF-10 | Enterprise CV-6 | Air Group 10


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VB-10 (Bombing Squadron Ten) and VF-10 "Grim Reapers" (Fighting Squadron Ten)
Enterprise CV-6 | Air Group Ten

VB-10 was the one of the last SBD carrier squadrons. Jig Rampage's VB-10 have the honor of carrying out the last SBD combat when it attacked targets on Guam, 5 Jul 1944.

The SBD was the only U.S. Navy aircraft to fly from carriers in World War II's five carrier battles. Though the Curtis Helldiver had largely replaced Douglas SBDs in the Fast Carrier Task Force by July 1943, two remaining squadrons (VB-10 and VB-16) made a strong showing in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.


VB-10 SBD Dauntless flies over Enterprise CV-6. 19 Dec 1942.




The Grim Reapers held a unique spot in U.S. Navy history: they were the only squadron to fly combat tours in Wildcats, Hellcats, and Corsairs. Established at San Diego in June 1942, VF-10 was led by the combat-experienced Jim Flatley, recently returned from the Coral Sea battle as exec of VF-42. Recruiting all the talent possible, he signed on such SBD experts as John Leppla and Swede Vejtasa. The former was KIA at Santa Cruz; the latter possibly saved Enterprise by splashing seven bombers that same day.

With Enterprise too valuable to risk close to shore, VF-1 O flew into Guadalcanal in mid-November, claiming 10 victories from the 13th to the 15th. Back aboard the Big E in January, Fighting 10 claimed 11 Bettys (three by Whitey Feightner) defending the crippled cruiser Chicago (CA-29) on 30 January. By the end of the first cruise the Reapers claimed 43 victories.

Flatley's former exec, W.R. "Killer" Kane, took VF-10 back aboard The Big E following her refit in Bremerton, Wash. That deployment, in Hellcats, logged 88.5 shootdowns including 29 over Truk on 17 Feb 44 and 19 in the Marianas Turkey Shoot, 19 Jun 44.

Transitioned to Corsairs under VF-5 vet Wally Clarke, the Reapers boarded Intrepid tor their third deployment in February 1945, entering combat in March. They quickly hit their stride, scoring 87 kills in March and Aprilnearly as many as on their entire second cruise. Of these, 33 were claimed during the major kamikaze attacks of 16 April, with Lt(jg) Phil Kirkwood and Ens. Alfred Lerch gunning six and seven, respectively. However, that day the suiciders took their revenge, forcing "Evil I" out of action. She only returned to WestPac in July but launched no more strikes until 6 August. Hostilities ceased nine days later.


VB-10 | Embroidered on twill.




VF-10 | Embroidered on twill.



Enterprise CV-6 | Air Group Ten

1st Deployment: 16 October 1942 - 10 May 1943
Engagements: Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Rennell Island

Aircraft: VB-10: 18 SBD-3 Dauntless | VF-10: 36 F4F-4 Wildcats
VS-10 (redesignated VB-10, 1 Mar 1943): 18 SBD-3 Dauntlesses | VT-10: 15 TBF-1 Avengers

2nd Deployment: 16 January - 15 July 1944
Marshall Islands Occupation, Truk Raids, Palau Raid, Hollandia Occupation, Marianas Occupation, Battle of the Philippine Sea

Aircraft: VB-10: 18 SBD-3 Dauntless | VF-10: 36 F4F-4 Wildcats
VF(N)-101: 4 F4U92(N) Corsairs | VT-10: 15 TBF-1 Avengers

VF-10 pilots on USS Enterprise (CV-6) c1942




Deck crews move an F4F-4 while others manually fold its wings before stowing it below deck.




VF-10 Grumman F6F Hellcats returning to the USS Enterprise in 1944





Tillman, Barrett. U. S. Navy Dive and Torpedo Bomber Squadrons of World War II.

Tillman, Barrett. U. S. Navy Fighter Squadrons of World War II.

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